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De Vries gets full-season Hypercar seat as Lopez transitions to Lexus GT3 program

Toyota Gazoo Racing has revealed a revise driver lineup for its 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar program. Nyck de Vries returns to the team to take a spot in the No. 7 GR010 HYBRID alongside Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the seat previously filled by Jose Maria Lopez.

Lopez, who had been a part of the team since 2017, will move across to the AKKODIS ASP Lexus RC F GT3 effort next season for the debut of the LMGT3 category. Lopez departs the team after a highly-successful stint with Conway and Kobayashi, winning 15 WEC races (including the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans) and claiming two World Endurance Drivers’ Championships in 2019-20 and 2021.

De Vries, meanwhile, slots into the Hypercar lineup after his partial-season campaign in Formula 1 with AlphaTauri this year.

The Dutchman is no stranger to the FIA WEC, having competed on and off in LMP2 between 2018 and 2021 for Racing Team Nederland and G-Drive Racing. He also filled the role of test and reserve driver for Toyota Gazoo Racing in the past.

“I am super excited to be returning to endurance racing, especially with Toyota Gazoo Racing,” said De Vries. “Endurance racing is something that I have always enjoyed and it is a discipline with incredible momentum at the moment. I was with the team in a different role for a few years but never got the chance to race, so it is great that the time has now arrived, and I want to thank the team for their continuous support and faith in me.

“I am very much looking forward to sharing car No. 7 with both Mike and Kamui. They are both very talented drivers who achieved a lot, and I am sure we will make a great team.”

Kobayashi, who acts as team principal as well as a driver at TGR in the WEC, thanked Lopez for his efforts behind the wheel with Toyota in the FIA WEC.

“In motorsport, things are constantly evolving and it’s the same with driver line-ups. On car No. 7, Mike, Jose and me drove together since 2017, which is a really long time in any category. We enjoyed some amazing moments together, but also some tough times, particularly at Le Mans. I would like to thank Jose for his massive contribution, as a driver and a teammate. He will always be a part of our Toyota Gazoo Racing family,” Kobayashi, who acts as team principal as well as a driver at TGR in the WEC.

“At the same time, it is exciting to welcome Nyck back to the team as part of the No. 7 crew. We know from his time as our test and reserve driver, plus his other racing, how quick and consistent he is. Next season again we have a top driver line-up in both cars, and this will be important when we face even more competitors in Hypercar. I am sure we will grow stronger together as a team over the winter, ready for the new challenge.”

The No. 8 GR010 HYBRID’s line-up remains unchanged, with Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, and Ryo Hirakawa returning as a trio in pursuit of their third consecutive World Endurance Drivers’ Championships and second Le Mans victory together.

“I’m delighted to continue with Sebastien and Brendon in the No. 8 car,” remarked Hirakawa, who will fill the role of McLaren F1 reserve driver in 2024 alongside his Hypercar commitments.

“This will be my third season in the team, and my third driving alongside them in the No. 8, and so far it has been a very special experience. We won the drivers’ championship two years in a row, and won Le Mans in 2022, and I am sure there is more to come. Next season will be even more challenging than ever but I am really looking forward to fighting to defend our title and aim for victory at Le Mans.”

Story originally appeared on Racer